Framingham Online News

Oaks Neighborhood Association (ONA) Opposes Proposed Concrete Batch Plant

Filed under: Uncategorized by News Staff at 4:55 pm on October 9, 2005

FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Oaks Neighborhood Association (ONA) of Framingham, MA has issued a strong resolution to the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZB A) stating overwhelming opposition to a Concrete Batch Plant proposed for 597 Old Connecticut Path, which is in close proximity to their neighborhood.

ONA is an active non-profit group organized by residents years ago with the mission of protecting the local environment and providing increased opportunities for families to enjoy the park and other natural resources in the neighborhood.

The resolution calls on the Board to deny the Special Permit applied for by D & D Mulch & Landscape for this site. Boston Sand and Gravel would operate the proposed Concrete Batch Plant. ONA members consider that this plant would be a major detriment to the community.

The resolution cites numerous reasons to defeat this Special Permit. Among them is the fact that the Building Commissioner of Framingham denied Boston Sand and Gravel a building permit based on its violation of the provisions of the Use and Dimensional Regulations that apply to General Manufacturing Districts as defined in the Framingham Zoning By-law. Further, a portion of the site contains wetlands, which are protected under special provisions of state legislation. The ONA claims that these environmental issues have not been adequately addressed.

Close nearby the site is Reardon Park, which over the years has been improved dramatically largely through the diligent volunteer efforts of ONA members and others. The improvements - a spruced-up and fully-equipped playground for young children, a basketball court, a ball field, benches - have resulted in a park that has become the center for local events, such as neighborhood holiday picnics on the Fourth of July, baseball games, and other social activities. The Park is within earshot and eyeshot of the proposed plant, which will inevitably generate offensive noise as well as feature a towering unsightly silo.

Also nearby, between the park and the proposed plant, is the Cochituate Rail Trail, which has enjoyed exceptional local and regional support. In fact, recently there was a clean-up day, one of several scheduled on a regular basis, in which many from the neighborhood and other areas volunteered to improve the trail for walkers and bikers. The trail moves through some lovely conservation land in that environment, close by Lake Cochituate.

ONA has initiated a vigorous literature, email, and phone campaign to encourage others in the local area and in the Town to join this opposition, including citizens of neighboring precincts, local businesses, organizations concerned with potentially dangerous environmental impacts, as well as town agencies such as the Board of Health and the Conservation Commission.

The ONA plans to present its opposition at the October 11 meeting of the ZBA, and encourages all who support this opposition to be present at that time. The meeting is at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Town Hall Public Hearing Room on the lower level.

For additional information regarding this Press Release, the Resolution, or the OAKS Neighborhood Association (ONA), please contact Greg Rotatori, the ONA spokesperson, via telephone at 617-828-2188 (cell) or 508-788-6047 (home) or via email at Rotatori@aol.com

The ONA Resolution regarding Old Connecticut Path Concrete Plant:


To the Town of Framingham Massachusetts Zoning Board of Appeals, care of the Honorable Phillip R. Ottaviani, Jr., Chairman:

From The Oaks Neighborhood Association (ONA) of Framingham Massachusetts, it's members and officers.

Regarding: File # 05-41, 597 Old Connecticut Path, D & D Mulch & Landscape Inc. PO, RP, SC, CL, Special Permit to allow use of proposed concrete batch plant


RESOLVED

Whereas, 597 Old Connecticut Path is in close proximity to the Oaks Neighborhood of Framingham and its many families and residents, Reardon Park, the Cochituate Rail Trail, conservation land and water, and local businesses that would be negatively impacted by the location of the proposed concrete batch plant;

Whereas, the proposal to develop the concrete batch plant at this site has been denied by the Building Commissioner of the Town of Framingham for its failure to satisfy the provisions of Section III.G.2 of the Framingham By-law, since the proposed use might be "offensive because of injurious obnoxious noise, vibration, smoke, gas, fumes, odors or other objectionable features;"

And whereas 597 Old Connecticut Path, while zoned as manufacturing, abuts a residential zoned area as well as local businesses that will be negatively impacted by the installation of a concrete bath plant at this site;

And whereas, the plant would inevitably introduce unacceptable risks to the safety and health of neighboring residents, as well as unacceptable consequences for the abutting businesses (dust, noise, trucks, and other offensive intrusions) and the natural environment surrounding and in some sections included within the proposed site;

And whereas, Boston Sand & Gravel will be working primarily with concrete dust, which is extremely hazardous to human health since it damages lung tissue due to its microscopic and toxic characteristics, and whereas concrete dust particle exposure is associated with silicosis since there are carcinogenic silica particles in the concrete;

And whereas, concrete batch plants produce tremendous amounts of dust, most notably crystalline silica, which has been designated a Level 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and which would travel by air unavoidably to nearby residences and businesses;

And whereas, the intrusion on a permanent basis of a new fleet of very large and noisy trucks carrying exceptionally heavy industrial loads of construction material and emitting offensive, unhealthy, and unsafe fumes in a highly sensitive natural setting and neighborhood would significantly increase the environmental problems in an area already overburdened by commercial trucking;

And whereas, sound-level tests produced by the applicant were taken in optimal conditions while all foliage was on the trees (which act as a natural sound buffer only when present), and still the noise registered at 57 decibels on Maymont (a street near the proposed plant and the location of Reardon Park), which is only 2 decibels below the restrictive level of 59, causing grave concerns regarding a potentially dramatic and unacceptable increase in noise pollution;

And whereas, a concrete batch plant, with a proposed 75-foot tall silo, concrete block borders, sterile architecture, and heavy machinery, are not consistent with the aesthetics of the area and would stand-out as an "eye sore";

And whereas, a concrete batch plant in or near a residential community could severely reduce property values;

And whereas, any success realized by this concrete batch plant enterprise would likely result in increased hours of business operations, with the consequent noise and air pollution extending into the early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday hours, many of which are times of high utilization of the park and trail;

And whereas, current Framingham By-laws are simply inadequate and ineffectual for enforcing any restrictions that might result from the permitting process, which could result in violations that would endure despite their injurious impact on the local environment, neighborhood, and businesses;

And whereas, Boston Sand & Gravel and it's subsidiaries were fined $1.3 million in 2002 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for dumping hazardous waste into various waterways and rivers, violating the Clean Water act on multiple occasions, raising serious concerns about its commitment to protect the environment, particularly in the area proposed, which includes a protected watershed and nearby Lake Cochituate;

And whereas, an abandoned trailer on the grounds of the Boston Sand & Gravel in Cambridge in 1997 was the site of a tragic murder involving a homeless woman, raising serious questions about how well BSG maintains their facilities and secures their sites;

And whereas, the granting of this permit for a concrete batch plant at 597 Old Connecticut Path will not likely result in any significant new financial benefit for the town of Framingham;

We, the Oaks Neighborhood Association (ONA) of Framingham hereby resolve that we strongly urge the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals to DENY the Special Permit applied for by D & D Mulch & Landscape Inc. to build a proposed concrete batch plant at 597 Old Connecticut Path. The ONA hereby resolve that we support only those uses of 597 Old Connecticut Path that are endorsed by the ONA, and only those uses that do not present risk to the health and safety of our community and our environment, and only those uses that enhance our community and our respective property values.

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